Dons Trust Membership 2024/25 FAQ  

We have put together this frequently asked questions (FAQ) list in response to plans to change how we sell and process Dons Trust membership. We’ve tried to answer as many as possible below.  

These are posted in one place here on the Dons Trust website to make it easy to understand and access, and we will update them as required. 

Q.1 Why is the Dons Trust planning to include membership with season tickets?  

Now that we have almost three full seasons at Plough Lane behind us, the club and the Dons Trust Board are planning for the future. This includes how to manage repayments to bond holders due in 2025 and how we engage ALL AFC Wimbledon supporters who loyally attend games.

Many of our members have often suggested that it seems odd that our most loyal fans, those with season tickets for men’s league games at the Cherry Red Records’ Stadium, should not be members too, something also borne out in previous surveying. The Dons Trust Board believes that the 2024/25 season is the right time to offer all season ticket holders the opportunity to be members.  

The first step is about making membership more open to a wider group of potential members. Providing that opportunity to season ticket holders – who have already made a significant commitment – makes sense as part of building a sustainable, engaged ownership for the long-term, and one for all fans who want to be part of it.  

We know that this will feel like a significant change for some members, but we believe it’s the right thing to do. We want more people from our community of fans engaging in the conversations around fan ownership, engaging in our conversations and voting in our elections.    

Q.2 Having all these new members is one thing, but how are you going to ensure they understand what fan ownership even means? 

Many of us have been members for a long time and understand it well, but that won’t be the case with new members. We recognise that we need to educate people about fan-ownership, its benefits, and the responsibilities of membership and ownership.  

That’s why the launch of the new club website (following the end of the EFL contract in June 2024) is another important element of this process. It means we will be able to bring all our digital channels into one place, providing an opportunity to inform and educate our new and existing members.

It will also offer an opportunity to provide much more relevant content and benefits on one platform. It will allow for significantly better targeted engagement online and in-person, including for important issues such as ‘Restricted Action’ votes or elections. 

Q.3 Can I still just have a Dons Trust membership? 

Yes, membership of the Dons Trust will continue to be available separately from a season ticket, and without additional benefits, just as it is today. 

Q.4 What is the change to the membership fee? 

We are planning to raise the current membership fees from £25 to £30 (standard adult membership) and £10 to £15 (concessions). 

Q.5 Why are membership fees increasing? 

Membership fees, which haven’t increased since we launched The Dons Trust 22 years ago, support the Trust’s Objects (which you can read in full in our constitution on the Dons Trust website) Much of these are about maintaining and growing the club’s presence in the community and we are increasing them to reflect increased costs.  

Q.6 Where will the additional funds raised go? And in what proportions?

We  are hoping to provide further funds for the Women’s team and the Academy, in addition to the current funds that the Dons Trust provides to them. We don’t have specific proportions in mind yet. 

Q.7 What is the enhanced membership? 

We and the club are planning to add a range of benefits for non-season ticket holders equivalent to those enjoyed by season ticket holders.  

Enhanced membership will cost £50 adult and £35 concession (effectively an additional £20 on top of standard Dons Trust membership). The exact benefits are being finalised but are likely to include: 

  • £2 off home league game match tickets 
  • Member-only content on our new website and app  
  • Home ticket priority 
  • Upgrade offers (to hospitality) 
  • Priority for limited attendance games (FA Cup away to a small team, away playoff semi, Wembley finals etc) 
  • 5% off in the Club shop and online for the entire season 
  • 10% off in the pub on non-matchdays 
  • Free entry to the Academy day 
  • Monthly draw 
  • Discounts on stadium hires and parties 
  • Discounts on stadium tours 
  • Offers from the club’s commercial partners 

Q.8 I want a season ticket, but I don’t want to be a member, can I opt out? 

Yes, you will be able to opt out. 

Q.9 Does this move blur the lines between the Dons Trust and the Club?  

No. We’d encourage you to read https://thedonstrust.org/2024/03/16/governing-our-club-afc-wimbledon-plcs-rules-on-director-voting-and-dons-trust-approval/ In summary, nothing changes in terms of ownership or the way the club is run (governance). 

Q.10 Why are we making these changes now, can’t we delay a year?  

We have almost three full seasons at Plough Lane behind us and the club and the Dons Trust Board are planning for the future. Whenever a change such as this is proposed, people will ask why now? We have been working closely with the club and we have looked closely at the options, and we believe 24/25 is the right time to introduce these changes because: 

  • We have a challenge to grow our membership in line with our increased home capacity since the move to Plough Lane by bringing many of those already committed Dons fans along with us, get them engaged and involved, and part of our future. 
  • The switch from a standard EFL platform to our own unified Club/Trust/Charity site allows us a unique digital opportunity to offer members access to exclusive content and benefits and providing an opportunity to educate and inform the new cohort of members. We wouldn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. 

Q.11 Does this create a tiered membership of the Dons Trust?  

No, there is only one level of membership of the Trust (legally the ‘Wimbledon Football Club Supporters Society Limited’), which conveys each member the right to vote in elections, AGMs and SGMs and stand for election. 

Any additional benefits offered outside of that are commercial benefits offered by the club and do not impact on those fundamental rights.   

Q.12 Who is driving these changes?  

These changes are being driven by both the Dons Trust Board and the AFCW PLC Board. We are working together with Club staff to deliver the changes. 

Q.13 This wasn’t included in anyone’s manifesto, so do you have a mandate to do it?  

Yes. Dons Trust Board members are representatives who are elected or appointed to represent the membership and act in the best interests of the members and club, and that sometimes means making judgement calls such as this. 

We collectively believe these changes are the right thing to do now and offer a significant advantage to the membership and Club. 

Q.14 How will we get new members to vote on important issues?  

As a board, we have committed to actively communicate and engage with all members, current and new, to demonstrate the unique importance of the democratic process through which we govern our football club.  

We understand some members’ concerns that an increase in new members could mean fewer engaged members when it comes to elections and votes on upcoming Restricted Actions. 

We believe that the timing of these changes, alongside the new website platform, will give us much greater opportunity to communicate to and engage with all our members far more efficiently and effectively.  

Not only that but linking season tickets and membership for many fans will mean we know exactly where many of our members are at 3pm on a Saturday, which will allow us to update them on crucial information. 

Q.15 How will we pass Restricted Actions with new members?  

We are committing to a programme of communication, education and engagement with all new members, and indeed current members. The new website will allow us far greater opportunity and sophistication in our approach and enable us to work closely with the Club’s marketing team to reach a wider audience too.